tv Newsmakers CSPAN November 24, 2013 10:00am-11:01am EST
>> today on c-span, newsmakers with house armed services committee chair max thornberry. later about a discussion about the global economy and emerging- market. joining us on newsmakers is the republican from texas, he is the vice chair of the house armed services to many, also a member of the house intelligence many. thank you for joining us. here with the questioning today, jim michaels who covers military issues, and sarah. i want to begin with you. the comments was asked week by secretary chuck hagel meeting with members of congress to and sequestration and work out an
agreement on the budget. when lawmakers return after the thanks giving recess, will that happen. i am not sure, but i am fairly optimistic. i think the the discussions between paul ryan and senator murray are going pretty well. i think there is a real chance that we could have a budget agreement that nobody is in love with, but is at least a step forward in saving money in ways other than these across the board sorts of cuts that come with sequestration. i'm hopeful that it will actually happen. >> if it actually happens, what will it look like/ ? >> i think the hope is that it will last for a couple of years. that it would include at least some reforms in mandatory spending programs which after all occupied two thirds of the federal budget, and that it
would prevent any further cuts in national security and other discretionary programs. i think it is important for people to remember that defense is 17% of the federal budget, and yet it is -- has had to absorb the percent of all of these budget cuts under the restoration, and that is after it was cuts substantially by the obama administration before that. the cumulative effect of these cuts on defense have been fairly severe, and another round of cuts would be quite severe, down into the muscle of our national security. -- so i hope we can have an agreement, it will not be to everyone's liking, but i think it will be a good cap if those outlines are followed. >> let me turn to sarah, who covers national issues for national journal. >> if there is no deal, the pentagon is facing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in
the coming year. you think that the pentagon should be able to have some flexibility in how it implements the across-the-board cuts? >> first, i hope there is a budget agreement. you're right, there is a possibility that there will not be, so we have to look at, then what? >if there is not an agreement than i think some of the abilities to move money around is something that we want to talk to the pentagon about. that is a time, i do not think that the obama administration should do this exclusively on their own. i think there has to be some give-and-take with congress on how that money is moved around. there are discussions going on as a backup plan as to how to best do that. >> did you want to follow up? michaels, of usa today. >> i want to turn to afghanistan. a fairly significant development in that the united
states and afghanistan have ,greed, at least in basic terms on a bilateral security agreement. should the united states have a long-term military a group -- a green and afghanistan -- commitment in afghanistan? a commitmenthave to security forces in afghanistan so that they can take care of their own security and so that afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorism. again, just contrast what we hope happens in afghanistan, versus what actually happened in iraq, because there was no security agreement that was reached with the government of iraq. the violence has been incredible. now, combined with syria, that western part of rock has become an that of a rock has become closer and closer to becoming a safe haven for terrorism.
now focused primarily in syria, but they will not be digitally focused that way that continually focus that way. i hope that the security agreement does get approved by the government of afghanistan, that we continue to have a presence, not a combat present, but i supporting present so that continue their development, and take care of their own security. will at is that there some point no longer need -- be a need for us to be there directly, but i understand that this is a longer-term process. tobe there, too of eyes, assist them, is good for our security. somee president has made rather bombastic, and about the united states, and the relationship within the united states has been rocky. is he a good a law -- a good
long-term arrival and partner? >> he will not be there much longer. presidential elections are coming up, they will elect a new president next year. there is a transition going on here. i think it is important that our relationship not be with just any one person, even the president, but to be deeper than that, stronger than that, and that will make it more lasting. there will always be ups and downs with any leader, particularly in the difficult certain stances that we have all faced there for the last decade or so. hopeful that we can work out a relationship that means our security interests, but also bears their interests and concerns as well. >> at what cost and for how long? can you put in a specific
thinkne how long you america drizzle be in afghanistan, as they look at the budget? it is a huge budget item. what is the timetable? >> if anyone gives you a specific date, what you're doing is telling the enemy how longer they have to wait until we are gone to and, you're also telling the people you're trying to help that you cannot rely on us for long. a specific date is always a mistake. what we should be there is long enough for them to stand on their own two feet. if you look back, they have made incredible progress in just the past couple of years. of all ofn the lead the combat operations right now. what they cannot do for themselves is some of the intelligence come a some of the logistics, and so forth. but they are getting there. i think you want to pat them on the back for a tremendous progress that they have made
thanks to our help, and some wonderful servicemen and women who have been there and done a lot of good work. we are on a very good track of a we do not want to cut it off before they come -- a published their goal. are considering leaving a smaller than expected force in iraq. in line with what you have heard, and how many troops do you think should be left in the country? >> i am concerned that the 10,000 is substantially less than the military has been talking about, so we set -- how we set -- shall we say. troops, thato few is tying your own hands behind your back. we want to be successful, we want to get the job done with no
more troops than necessary, no more talk -- cost the necessary necessary.n but we must remember that there has been a lot of dollars and blood spent to get them to a place where they would no longer be a place that would launch tax or against the united states. what we need to represent what we are trying to do is trying to make sure that all of those dollars and blood that has been spent there has a lasting, positive security affect for us. >> you compare this to whack a mole, because they might move out of there, but to other areas. how you stop that? hand --o not stick the your head in the sand and say it is hard to stop, so we're not going to do anything about it. you're right, you push them out of afghanistan, they moved to begin -- yemen, somalia, or west
africa. that is true. you follow them there going to work with the local security forces, so they can take care of their own security, and we been doing a lot of that. you have to be vigilant. this is a very determined enemy that is not going to go away because we want them to. wehave to stay after it, have to be diligent, and we have to be smart about it. i think there is some other aspects to this trouble as well that we are not as adept at, including the audiological -- ideological side. that can determine the ways within the wars or the disputes within the religion of islam, against violence, then there is worksome more -- some more to be done there to make terrorism unacceptable,
regardless about how they feel about the united states's policies. at we have to be used -- willing to use force where necessary. most recent and primary threats to our homeland recently have been coming from yemen, and working again with the government there, we have made tremendous strides and equipment -- in equipping the yemeni forces to contain that threat. they are still working, they are still plotting, they could be successful tomorrow, but we're making progress. we have to keep after it. >> we will turn it to jim michaels again. >> just to follow on this notion of global terrorism, it wasn't too long ago that the administration was talking about potential strikes on assad's regime in syria. i was talking about supporting the opposition or sister were fighting -- opposition forces
who were fighting. what is going on with that today? if you are looking at the efforts to remove chemical weapons or the organizations that were working with assad, it almost seems as if u.s. policy has and it certainly strengthened -- has inadvertently strengthened him or legitimized him. what is happening? >> i think the debate has shifted somewhat. i did not support the president posner and asia and -- the ,resident hoss recommendation because it is really difficult to understand who you are helping. if you do help someone, how do you make sure that they are the ones that get the help, rather than someone -- some of the other folks who are fighting for clearly terrorists have a of that ilk. as the struggle has gone on, it
has become even more confusion with it the -- with the many opposition groups, and there are fair number of people who think we have just as much, if not more to fear from them, then we do run assad. at the same time, the chemical are a primary area of concern. i hope that this international effort is successful in putting proper security around them, removing them, destroying them. we have a long way to go with them. the united states would somehow help these rebels, some of whom are clearly terrorists, has been part of the policy dilemma at this stage in syria. you get all sorts of folks that say if we could have taken action earlier we could've avoided this point, that is an academic discussion. we are where we are, where we significant number of the most active rebels are
connected with al qaeda and terrorist groups carried -- groups. would you say that the chemical weapons removal effort has been successful so far, that there has been enough rugrats -- progress? is there enough military force to combat this if it does go wrong? >> i do not think you ever rule out the use of military force. that is always a mistake. had that has there been some got our hands on all the chemical of and, no. we make progress. i'm not wishing that efforts byl by any stretch, -- ill
any stretch, but there are number of hurdles. knowing where the chemical weapons are, securing them in the midst of this very violent action will be very difficult. >> congress men, this past week puttingvered a speech together a series of reforms. i would ask about the investigation of the allegation of the members of the u.s. navy with reverie. just how rap -- rampant, from your standpoint, is this problem? >> i do not know. i think the investigation is underway and we ought to know wherever it leads. obviously, if you have concern that any of the high-level full are involved in something like reiber he -- bribery, then it is very troubling. the more compensating your complicatede more
your symptoms are, the easier it is to abuse them. what i hope comes from our reform efforts is a simplification, and greater transparency, and greater accountability for the decisions that are made by military and civilians in the use of alt taxpayer dollars at the department of defense. i wanted to come back to budget for a moment. the service chiefs have made it very clear that in the next audit cycle, they want to trim back the rate of pay and benefits. are now upnnel costs to 50% of the defense budget. if the rate is not ratcheted down, they fear it will be 70% or 80% of the overall budget, and what you will end up with is a hollow force. eu support the notion of slowing the rate of pay raises and benefits for the military personnel? >> i share the concern about the
problem. at the same time, last year, in the defense authorization bill, we set up a commission to look at this exact issue of pay and benefits. just recently, after having asked for input from the pentagon, they received essentially nothing, from no specific proposal from the pentagon's top leadership, and that was really disappointing rate for that commission to have a chance to put up there some specific proposals that could then be vetted and discussed and so forth, they needed a starting point from the pentagon raid the pentagon -- the pentagon. the pentagon has advocated a proposal that a lot of people have put their hopes in, and that is a disappointment. they will continue to work and we will see that they come up with. .
we have to see whether the current pay and benefits system is affected at kick that getting and keeping top quality folks. one example, we're going to increasingly need top-quality technical folks who can deal in the realm of cyber. we are competing with google and microsoft and all of those companies. maybe the current personnel system and the way we compensate people with a 20 year retirement plan is not what you need to recruit and retain those folks. my point is, and addition to trying to look at curtailing the long-term costs of the current personnel system, i think you also have to look and see whether the current system is effect it in the modern day. i think some reforms could well be coming. those reforms, in my opinion, need to keep the hummus as we have already made to the people who serve -- need to keep the
promises we have already made to the people we serve, but also need to make some adjustments to the people into the service. be upfront about what those are. >> let me turn back to sarah of the national journal. a you're in charge of congressional push to fix the way that the pentagon buys weapons and services. acquisition of four efforts have been pretty unsuccessful for the last decade. what about your efforts specifically are going to succeed this time around? >> i hope they will succeed, we do not know yet. the person that we have done is actually look at the past 25 years of acquisition reform, and we had a hearing exactly on what makes that's not work as well as we had hoped. we're not just looking from the top down, we are looking down into the services and the bureaucracy, and trying to really understand why decisions were made the way they were. we're going to focus on the
system, because if you are a program manager for some manager a contract officer, you need to understand the way the world looks from that point of view, regardless of the thing we do in statute, or regulation from the pentagon. it is really in terms of success or failure. the bottom line of that is it down to the root causes about not just treat the systems. that is what we're going to try to focus on. the other point i would make is that there is incredible bipartisan support in the house and the senate for this effort. their support at the pentagon for this effort, there is universal support in industry for this effort. that we an urgency here have tried all of this stuff before, it has not worked, but we have got to the point where we have to do something.
the combination of circumstances, the budget, the way the world is changing, and the slowness and covered this in that cumbersome this of the system necessitates that we take action. the sense of urgency from all sacked her's is one of the best things we have going for us. >> congressman, as a member of the house intelligence committee, i want to ask you about these nsa leaks. one of the arguments we have heard of the last few weeks is that everyone doesn't read do european countries spy on the u.s.? >> i think lots of countries spy on each other. i would say it is more the exception rather than the rule about one country trying to get information from another country. even countries that work a lot together. again, back to basics here for a second, the job of our intelligence community is to help provide information and to that contributes to the national
security of the united states. we have to to be responsible for our security on our own. i think it is the first job of the federal government to provide for our security. the intelligence community, especially since 9/11, has made huge strides in being more effective in getting the information we need to prevent another 9/11. i worry about some of the links s, and loose leak talk that could put some of that capability to the wayside. of war tapping the phone the leaders like angela merkel in germany? it is not fair to say we are not listening to you, that sort of thing. intelligentked the
community to help them understand what foreign leaders intend. what their policies are, what they're really thinking, not what just their press releases they -- say. those efforts to discern leadership intentions have been vetted with both the house and the senate. there are no surprises here about trying to understand what different countries are intending, or wanting to do. the rest of the story is that we that have resources limited resources. we cannot listen to everybody, not everyone is interesting to listen to, to tell you the truth. the resources have to be focused on those countries, those individuals, those issues, that are the highest priority for the united aids. i think there's kind of a misunderstanding that a lot of. want to listen in -- full want to listen in, just to listen and. that is part of what the
intelligence community does under the president's guide it with oversight from the house and the senate. >> to follow that up from a slightly different angle, part of what the u.s. intelligence community does is cooperate with the intelligence communities of its allies. with what we can leaks -- wik ileaks has brought out, and what dward snowden has brought out, will any of those allies ever operate with us again? >> i do not know. i would have to wonder about it, it is deeply disturbing. we have very limited resources. a key factor in our success has been working with others, and cooperating and coordinating our efforts. but if folks think that anything they sent to us is going to be leaked out in some way, they're going to operate less, and who
would blame them? thatother consequence might come from the revelations of all of these surveillance programs is that the white house is apparently considering replace the nsa tractor when he retires in the spring. do you think it is a good idea for a civilian to be in charge of the agency? >> i do not know. it is one of those questions where you do not need to have a knee-jerk reaction, you need to sit back and study it. think about the relationship between the nsa and the leadership of both of those entities. bill weyear's defense required a study of just these issues, what that relationship would be, and what sort of leadership would make the most sense. themros and cons of making separated out, or bringing them together. these things are not just about
responding to last week's headlines, they had major consequences about our ability to protect our people, all sorts all sorts of from threats. we to do this in a deliberate way, looking at the pros and cons, not in the heat of the moment, what with -- what with cool judgment. >> let's conclude on the budget. anthe country fails to reach agreement in mid-december, and if sequestration then dixon in january, what is the biggest challenge to defense secretary hagel? >> trying to protect the united dates -- states in light of those cuts. alreadyice chiefs have admitted to us in hearings that they cannot now execute a military strategy that they have been assigned. thehere are further cuts, world is not getting any safer, the world is not getting any less complex and syria, iran,
north korea, just go down list, they are not going away. of the itallenge ministration is how do you protect the country when you have fewer and fewer resources, but the threats are not diminishing at all? are going to reach an agreement. my new everett saying is that the pessimists are usually right, but it is the optimist that change the world. let's hope that they can change the world we have known for the past couple of years,, with a budget agreement, and we can be on a little sounder footing. >> mac thornberry is a republican from texas, he is the vice chair of the house armed services committee. thank you for being with us. have a nice thanksgiving. we continue the conversation with susan and john michael. it seemed to be the story that will not go away.
>> it was sort of interesting when he was talking about the damage that has been done to trust him a which is absolutely critical to the u.s. intelligence committee as it works with its allies. while much of the debate rightly has been focused on civil privacies, issues of this sort, unquestionably, when allies have to worry about anything they provide to the united states could end up in the public realm, that raises are a lot -- a lot of worries, and has an impact on future cooperation. >> round two of sequestration, or a budget agreement, which will be? >> i think everyone in washington is waiting to find that out, so we will see that in the next few days. the pentagon has a lot of challenges to figure out what is going to do about the budget cuts. >> how worried his secretary
hagel? worried.k very while a there was some optimism expressed today, you do not see a lot of momentum, a lot of motive, a lot of energy in the direction of getting a deal cut. the service chiefs are very concerned about it, absolutely. they worry about this notion of a hollow force, where you have troops, you cannot train them, you cannot equip them, you cannot buy the necessary clement. we have seen this in the past several years, and it was pretty devastating. >> the apology that was not quite an apology with regard to afghanistan, nor take away from events this week? >> there was a lot of interesting moments there. it looks like there is an agreement rated everyone as talked about their, -- everyone has talked about this, there was an agreement, there was a legal framework sets down for trooper tools -- removal.
there is a ground cancel -- grand council that is going to meet, if they approve it, we will withdraw. we are now leaving a very small number of forces, not a robust number, and you can accomplish very little. >> general alexander stepper down -- stepping down, what changes can we expect in the year ahead? >> that was the big difference. it has always been led by a military official. splitting cyber command, away from the nsa would be another difference you can see coming out of these nsa leaks. >> there were a number of points. one of them being the issue of optimism, a fact that the deal will be cut. the concerns about the world
being just as complex as it has always been, there are just as many threats out there, so little resources and a diminishing around of resources with which to respond. a measure of uncertainty over makes for anocess interesting time. >> thank you for being with us. both for joining us here on newsmakers. >> next on c-span, the presidential medal of freedom ceremony at the white house, all at by a discussion on the global at 20 -- followed by a discussion on the global economy and federal budget. >> president obama awarded the
presidential medal of freedom to 16 people in a white house ceremony today. the ceremony was about 50 nets -- minutes, . >> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the recipient of the presidential medal of freedom. [applause] mr. ernie banks.
dr. mario molina. [applause] ms. tam o'shaughnessy accepting on behalf of her late partner, sally ride. [applause] mr. walter nagel accepting on behalf of his partner, bayard rustin. mr. arturo sandoval. ms. smith accepting on behalf of her husband, mr. dean smith. ms. gloria steinem. [applause] reverend c.t. vivian. the honorable patricia wald. ms. oprah winfrey. [applause]
have a seat. well, on behalf of michelle and myself, welcome to the white house. this is one of my favorite events every year. especially special this year as i look at this extraordinary group of individuals and our opportunity to honor them with our nation's highest civilian honor. the presidential medal of freedom. this year, it is just a little more special. this marks the 50th anniversary of president kennedy establishing this award. we are honored today to have with us one of my favorite people, ethel kennedy. and a pretty good basketball player, president kennedy's grandson jack.
[applause] this medal has been bestowed on more than 500 deserving people. tonight, i am looking forward to joining some of these honorees as well as members of the kennedy family as we pay tribute to these 50 years of excellence. this morning, we are honored to add 16 new names to this distinguished list. today, we salute competitors who became true champions in the sweltering heat of a chicago summer, ernie banks walked into the cubs locker room and didn't like what he saw. everybody was sitting around, heads down, depressed. ernie piped up and said, boy, what a great day.
let's play two. [applause] that is a man who came up through the negro leagues making seven dollars a day and became the first black player to suit up for the cubs and one of the greatest hitters of all-time. in the process, ernie became known as much for his 512 home runs as for his cheer and his optimism and his eternal faith that someday, the cubs would go all the way. [laughter] that is serious belief. that is something that even a white sox fan like me can respect. he is just a wonderful man and a great icon of my hometown. speaking of sports, dean smith is one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history. his successes go far beyond x's and o's. he graduated 96% of his players.
the first coach to use multiple defenses in a game. he was a pioneer who popularized the idea of pointing to the passer with his first national title on the line. he did have the good sense to give the ball to a 19-year-old kid named michael jordan. they used to joke that the only person who ever held michael under 20 was dean smith. while coach smith couldn't join us today due to an illness that he is facing, we also honor his courage in helping to change our country. he recruited the first black scholarship athlete to north carolina. he helped integrate a restaurant and a neighborhood in chapel hill. that is the kind of character that he represented on and off the court. we salute innovators that push
the limits of science changing how we see the world and ourselves. growing up, sally ride read about the space program in the newspaper almost every day. she thought, this was the coolest thing around. when she was a phd candidate at stanford, she saw an ad for astronauts in the student newspaper. she seized the opportunity. the first american woman in space. sally didn't just break the stratospheric glass ceiling. she blasted through it. when she came back to earth, she devoted her life to helping girls excel in fields like math, science and engineering. young girls need to see role models. you can't be what you can't see. today, our daughters including malia and sasha have set their sights a little bit higher because sally ride showed them the way. all of us have moments when we
look back and wonder, what the heck was i thinking? i have that. [laughter] quite a bit. [laughter] psychologist daniel kahneman has made that simple question his life's work. a historic career in israel and america. he basically invented the study of human decision-making. he has helped us understand from everything from behavioral economics to, does living in california make people happy? he has also been called an expert on irrational behavior, so i am sure that he could shed some light on washington. what truly sets daniel apart is his curiosity. guided by his belief that people are endlessly complicated and interesting, at 79 he is still discovering new insights into how we think and learn, not just so we understand each other but so that we can work and live together more effectively.
dr. mario molina started as a young boy in mexico city. a homemade laboratory in a bathroom at home. that passion for discovery led mario to become one of the most respected chemists of his era. he was awarded the nobel prize, not only for his research, but also for his insistence that when we ignore dangerous carbon emissions, we risk destroying the ozone layer and endangering our planet. thanks to mario's work, the world came together to address a common threat. today, inspired by his example, we are working to leave our planet safer and cleaner for future generations. we also have to salute musicians who bring such joy to our lives. loretta lynn was 19 the first time she won big at the local fair. her canned vegetables brought
home 17 blue ribbons. [laughter] they made her canner of the year. [laughter] for a girl from kentucky, that was fame. fortunately for all of us, she decided to try her hand at things other than canning. her first guitar cost $17. with it, this coal miner's daughter gave voice to a generation, singing what no one wanted to talk about, saying what no one wanted to think about. now, over 50 years after she cut her first record and canned her first vegetables, loretta lynn still reigns as the rule breaking record-setting queen of country music. as a young man in cuba, arturo sandoval loved jazz so much it landed him in jail. it was the cold war and the only radio station where he could hear jazz was the voice of
america which was dangerous. he defected to the united states knowing he might never see his parents or beloved homeland again. without freedom, he said, there is no life. today, arturo is an american citizen. one of the most celebrated trumpet players in the world. there isn't any place on earth where the people don't know about jazz, he says. that is true in part because musicians like him have sacrificed so much to play it. we salute pioneers who pushed our nation towards greater justice and equality. a baptist minister, c.t. vivian was one of martin luther king jr.'s closest advisers. it is in the action that we find out who we really are. time and again, reverend vivian was among the first to be in the action.
in 1947, joining a sit-in to integrate an illinois restaurant. one of the first freedom riders. he was beaten, bloodied and jailed. rosa parks said of him, even after things that supposedly have been taken care of and we had our rights, he was still out there inspiring the next generation, including me, helping kids go to college with a program that would become upward bound. at 89 years old, reverend vivian is still out there, still in the action pushing us closer to our founding ideals. early in the morning, the day of the march on washington, the national mall was far from full. some of the press were beginning to wonder if the event would be a failure. the march's chief organizer, bayard rustin didn't panic. he looks down at a piece of
paper, looked back up and reassured reporters that everything was on schedule. the only thing those reporters didn't know was that the paper he was holding was blank. [laughter] he didn't know how it was going to work out but bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and most importantly, faith that if the cause is just and people are organized, nothing can stand in their way. for decades, this great leader was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay. no medal can change that, but today we honor bayard rustin's memory. [applause] speaking of game changers, disruptors, there was a young girl named gloria steinem who arrived in new york to make her mark as a journalist and
magazines only wanted her to write articles like, how to cook without really cooking for men. [laughter] gloria noticed things like that. she has been called a champion noticer. she is alert to all the ways large and small that women had been and in some cases continue to be treated unfairly just because they are women. as a writer, speaker, activist, she awakened a vast and often skeptical public to problems like domestic violence, lack of affordable childcare, unfair hiring practices. because of her work across america and around the world, more women are afforded the respect and opportunities they deserve. she also changed how women thought about themselves. gloria continues to pour her heart into teaching and mentoring. her one piece of advice to young girls is, i love this, do not
listen to my advice. listen to the voice inside you and follow that. when patricia wald's lawfirm asked if she would come back, she said she would like some time off to focus on her family. she devoted almost 10 years to raising five children. patricia never lost the itch to practice law. while her husband watched the kids at home, she would hit the library on weekends. at the age of 40, she went back to the court to show the young kids a thing or two. the first female judge on the d c circuit, patricia was a top candidate for attorney general after leaving the bench. her idea of retirement was to go to the hague to preside over the trial of war criminals. she says it is not worth celebrating anymore. today, we celebrate her. along with gloria, she shows
there are all kinds of paths listening to your voice. we salute communicators who shine the light on stories no one else is telling. a veteran of world war ii and more than a dozen pacific battles, ben bradlee brought the same intensity and dedication to journalism. since joining "the washington post," he transformed that newspaper into one of the finest in the world. with ben in charge, the post published the pentagon papers revealing the true history of america's involvement in vietnam, exposed watergate, unleashed a new era of investigative journalism, holding america's leaders accountable and reminding us that our freedom as a nation rests on our freedom of the press. when ben retired, senator moynahan put the admiration of many into a poem. his reign has ceased but his
nation stands with strength increased. i also indicated to ben, he can pull off those shirts and i can't. [laughter] he always looks so cool in them. [laughter] early in oprah winfrey's career, her bosses told her she should change her name to suzy. [laughter] i have to pause here to say i got the same advice. [laughter] they didn't say i should be named suzy, but they suggested i should change my name. people can relate to suzy. that is what they said. it turned out, surprisingly, that people can relate to oprah just fine. in more than 4500 episodes of her show, her message was
always, you can. you can do and you can be, you can grow and it can be better. she is living proof, rising from a childhood of poverty and abuse abuse to the pinnicle of the entertainment universe. even with 40 emmys, the distinction of being the first black female billionaire, oprah's greatest strength has also been her ability to help us discover the best in ourselves. michelle and i count ourselves among her many devoted fans and friends. as one of those fans wrote, i didn't know i had a light in me until oprah told me it was there. what a great gift. finally, we salute public servants. daniel inouye was a humble man
and he didn't wear his medal very often. he liked to wear a pin representing the good conduct medal he earned as a teenage private. to behave yourself takes special effort, he said. i did not want to dishonor my family. danny always honored his family and his country, even when his country didn't always honor him. after being classified as an enemy alien, danny joined the japanese-american unit that became one of the most decorated in world war ii. he is the second longest-serving senator in american history. he showed a generation of young people including one kid with a funny name growing up in hawaii who noticed there was somebody during those hearings in washington that didn't look like everybody else, which meant maybe i had a chance to do something important too. he taught all of us that no matter what you look like or were you come from, this country has a place for everybody who is
willing to serve. a proud hoosier, lugar has served america for more than half a century, young navy lieutenant to a respected leader in the united states senate. i will always be thankful to him for taking me under his wing, including travels together to review some of his visionary work, the destruction of cold war arsenals in the former soviet union, something that doesn't get a lot of public notice but was absolutely critical in making us safer after the cold war. traveling with dick, you get close to unexploded landmines, mortar shells, test tubes filled with anthrax and the plague. [laughter] his legacy, though, is the thousands of missiles and bombers, submarines and warheads that no longer threaten us because of his extraordinary work. our nation and our world are safer because of this statement. in a time of unrelenting
partisanship, dick lugar's decency is a model of what public service ought to be. last, but never least, we honor a leader who we still remember with such extraordinary fondness he still remembers as a child, waving goodbye to his mom, tears in her eyes as she went off to nursing school so she could provide for her family. i think lifting up families like his own became the story of bill clinton's life. he remembered what his mom had to do on behalf of him. he wanted to make sure that he made life better and easier for so many people all across the country that were struggling in those same ways and have the same hopes and dreams. as a governor, he transformed education so more kids could
pursue those dreams. as president, he proved that with the right choices you could grow the economy, lift people out of poverty, shrink our deficit, invest in our families, health, schools, science, technology -- in other words, we can go further when we look out for each other. as we have all seen, as president, he was just getting started. he doesn't stop. he has helped lead relief efforts after the asian tsunami. hurricane katrina, the haiti earthquake. his initiative has helped improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people. of course i am most grateful for his patience during the endless travels of my secretary of state. [laughter] i am grateful to bill for the advice and counsel you offered
me on and off the golf course. most importantly, for your life- saving work around the world which represents the very best in america. thank you so much, president clinton. [applause] these are the recipients of the 2013 presidential medal of freedom. these are the men and women who in their extraordinary lives remind us all of the beauty of the human spirit, the values that define us as americans, the potential that lives inside all of us. i could not be more happy and more honored to participate in this ceremony here today. with that, what i would like to
actually give them the medals. [laughter] where are my -- here we go. >> presidential medal of freedom recipients. ernie banks. [laughter] [applause] with an unmatched enthusiasm for america's pastime, ernie banks slugged, sprinted and smiled his way into the record books. known to the fans as mr. cub, he played an extraordinary 19 seasons with the chicago cubs
during which he was named to 11 all-star games, hit over 500 home runs and won back to back most valuable player honors. ernie banks was elected to the baseball hall of fame in 1977 and he will forever be known as one of the finest power hitters and most dynamic players of all- time. [applause] [laughter] [applause] benjamin bradlee. [applause] a titan of journalism, benjamin is one of the most respected newsman of his generation. after serving our nation in
world war ii, ben bradlee went on to defend liberty here at home. testing the limits of a free press during his tenure as executive editor of "the washington post," he oversaw coverage of the watergate scandal and successfully challenged the federal government over the right to publish the pentagon papers. his passion for accuracy and unyielding pursuit of truth continue to set the standard for journalism. [applause] [applause] the honorable william j clinton.